The Food Bank on the Edge team was all smiles as they unpacked a glorious bounty of donations made possible by West Coast generosity last week. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Ucluelet’s food bank bursting with generosity as COVID-19 increases need

Ucluelet’s generosity is shining through the economic chaos created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ucluelet’s generosity is shining through the economic chaos created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Food Bank on the Edge Society celebrated a Christmas morning’s worth of excitement last Tuesday as they cheerfully unpacked 23 food boxes from the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild.

“It was an incredible amount,” the society’s executive director Cris Martin told the Westerly News. “It was quite a stunning surprise in terms of the magnitude of it…To get absolutely fresh produce to give out is such a treat. It’s such a warm feeling to give fresh, fresh, produce.”

She said the “very, very, plentiful” boxes were made possible through funds raised by Nora Morrison’s front door portrait project as well as donations made through the TUCG’s website.

She added that the society has also received massive donations of fish from Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods, Cermaq Canada and Creative Salmon as well as hundreds of pounds of potatoes from the Ucluelet First Nation and Jiggers.

“It’s really heartwarming to know that we have a soft spot in everybody’s hearts here. It really makes a difference. We have never had food like this coming in,” Martin said. “To receive donations this big is quite overwhelming and it really makes us feel secure that we can help feed the community. We’re ready to have an increase in clients.”

She said the society has also received funding from the provincial government and, through a collaboration with Ucluelet’s municipal council, has increased the amount of food each client receives by about 30 per cent.

The food bank has received so much support during the pandemic that its facility could not contain the town’s generosity and the nearby Seaplane Base Rec Hall is now being used for extra storage.

“In short, we’re loaded with food and it’s great,” Martin said. “We’re seeing tons more support than usual.”

She said the society expects and hopes to see a swell in clientele as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the town’s tourism economy and is reaching out to residents who may be struggling to ask for help.

“We’re trying to be very creative with our approach and to help people get the food help they need…We definitely have lots of food to give away and we’re very proud of the nutritional value of our hampers,” she said. “In the food bank world, there’s always been a stigma and, for anybody who hasn’t faced some level of food insecurity, it’s not on their radar…It’s not a step down in your life, it’s more like a bridge. We’re bridging the gap until things return to whatever normal is going to look like.”

She added that residents can sign up to receive a food hamper over the phone and deliveries are available.

“I have a great crew of smart, brilliant women who share the same vision. We just want to be here and feed people. It’s what we like to do,” she said. “There’s this desire among all of us at the Food Bank on the Edge that we just urgently want to have people come and utilize this service.”

Anyone wanting to reach out can contact Martin at 250-726-6909—residents are asked not to call on Tuesdays as that’s the day the society has its hands full with deliveries and pickup—or through the Food Bank on the Edge’s Facebook page.

The food bank also launched a new avenue to receive donations this month and is now able to accept donations through e-transfers to Foodbankedge@gmail.com, along with the traditional PO Box 1146 route and Martin said she’s had an inspiring view from her front row seat of the town’s giving spirit during the crisis.

“People are just seriously jumping on board. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t get emotional about the amount of generosity,” she said. “I’ve said it many times before, but it’s just so wonderful to feel like we’re held up by this community; we are just held up and supported and, really, not a day goes by I’m not reduced to tears at some point just because it’s so lovely. We’re very lucky to be in this small, caring community. Every day there are examples of it, every single day.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: COVID-19: Ucluelet food bank ready for swell of new clients

READ MORE: B.C. salmon farmers donate 60,000 pounds of canned salmon to food banks

READ MORE: Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

CoronavirusFood Bank

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

Chris Lowther becomes Tofino’s second Poet Laureate

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive.”

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read